Searching for History of the RFD

Back in 2006, I authored a history book titled “Firefighting in Roanoke”. It is a department I hold near and dear to my heart. I would love to tell you that I have worked for the department for 15 years, but it is best that I not mention it. The book Firefighting in Roanoke is an Images of America book and features photos throughout.

For many reasons, I have been getting back into the swing of collecting more of our history. Long story short…there is so much history out there, most of what we have is photos. The photos are great, and there are gaps we are still looking to fill.

For instance, I have yet to see a photo of inside the bays at historic #1 when the horse stalls were in place.
There are very few photographs or information on several of the original volunteer fire companies.

I am searching for all things related to the Roanoke Fire Department. This includes pictures, tools, equipment, helmets, gear, and even fire apparatus. While I will pay cash for certain artifacts, I am more interested in finding out what is out there and getting copies of photos are just fine.

I am also looking for stuff that the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association might be interested in.

This includes several volunteer fire departments which were formed prior to the paid RFD.

These departments include:

  • Roanoke Fire Company 1
  • Alert Fire Company No. 4 ( at Virginia Brewery)
  • Vigilant Steam Fire Company No. 1
  • Junior Hose Company No. 2
  • Friendship Fire Company No. 3 (originally named the Union Fire Company No. 3)
  • Norfolk & Western Shops Fire Company (Roanoke)

If you know of something I might be interested in seeing, please let me know via email (, my personal Facebook profile, or via The Fire Critic Facebook page.


Rhett Fleitz
The Fire Critic

The ladder truck below is for sale. It is not in this shape though, but the RFFA is selling it. If interested, let me know…I can put you in touch with the right person. It isn’t listed on the FB page or web site currently. It is unknown who took the photo below.